« PoprzedniaDalej »
that no species of religion, wbich is injurious to its welfare, be permitted. But, with regard to that religion, which he thinks proper, or rather finds it necessary to establish, this choice in this point being determined for him) he must be more particular. For, though he ha nothing to da with the doctrines, the rites, and the ceremonies or offices of religion, provided they are not inconsistent with the ends of civil society, yet it is his duty to appoint various circumstances relative to an established Church. He cannot, indeed, confer any ecclesiastical character, or execute any ecclesiastical offices; but he can and must appoint persons to exercise that character, and to execute those offices, from amongst suclu as the Church has thought fit to employ in her service.
The Christian religion, our author thinks, p. xvi. has been cramped by human establishments. However this may have been the case, before the nature of civil and eccle.iastical government was as well understood. as it is at present, it cannot surely be said, either with truth or decency, at this time and in this country, when and where the most extensive tole. ration of religious opinions and religious worship so generally prevails: But the writer of the Confessional cannot see, that establishments are not designed to promote religion, but to protect society from the mischiefs of contending parties. This author's representation of the motives, which induce the Clergy to defend the Church of England, is as groundless as his representation of the effects of such defence, pages vi. and viii. where he asserts, that, if the ideas of Di. Balguy, and the other writers in behalf of establishments, were realized by law, there would be an end of toleration. No less untounded is his charge against Dr. Powell, p. xvi. accusing the Dr. of saying, that novices in literature may reasonably subscribe a systematical confession on the authority of others. What is a systematical confession? Such persons may give their assent to the opimons of others as far as they see no reasons against giving such assent; and this is all the assent any man can give, unless in the case of demonstration. Mr. B. quotes no passage for this assertion of Dr. P. though lie himself is sufficiently ngry at Dr. Rutherforth (Preface to the second edition of the Confessional, p. xvii.) for the like omission. May it not, therefore, be permitted 10 ask our author, in his own words, (Pref. to the second edition, note, p. xx.) “ Would not a man of common feelings have had some little remorse in perceiving, that he must first futsify the passage alluded to, before he could, with any show of pertinence, reproach his adversary for the insertion of it. *»
But the opposers of establishments are told, that their demands are vague, and not explicit. The true and proper answer to this assertion would be, one should think, to make such as are precise and determinate. But no! Those, we are told, who should attempt to do so, must be not a little (perhaps fool) hardy.
* Probably, the passage intended is the following, which occurs in Dr. Powell's second discourse :-" They may acknowledge themselves members of the Church of England, and declare, that they have no objection to her articles, but a beliet of them grounded on the authority of others. And nothing farther, I suppose, does any man conceive to be meant by their subscriptions.” Mr. Blackburne's repre. sentation of it is this:-"For, I suppose, no sincere protestant will say, with Dr. Powell, that the novices in theological literature may reasonably subscribe a systematical confession upon the authority of others.”
E. P. Q42
This author sagaciously requires an ecclesiastical constitution calculated to comprehend ALL, that hold the fixed and fundamental principles and points of faith, in which all serious and sincere protestants of every denomination are unanimously agreed. Who is to determine what are fundamental principles and points of faith? It is because all serious and sincere persons cannot agree in what are to be esteemed fundamental principles or points of faith, that a toleration becomes necessary: and also because all serious and sincere persons are uniformly disposed to propa. gate their own opinions by any ways they can, therefore the magistrate is compelled to appoint an estabiishment; in consequence of which all other methods of propagating what each party esteems the truth, except the just and proper one of reason and argument, are effectually prevented.
There is no occasion to enter into particulars. Every person, who properly considers the matter, will readily see how far the civil interests of society are connected with, or dependient upon, the interests of its members, as members also of the several religious societies, which compose the state at large. When, then, our author lays down, (Confes. p. 1.) the principles of the protestants respecting religion, he lays down principles, which, in the FORMATION of a Church, are unquestion. ably incontrovertible, but which are nothing to his purpose. These principles have no more to do with an establishment made by the magistrate, than they have to do with the form of civil government: because forming a Church is one thing, and establishing a national religion is another. And, whatever the zealous may say of the superior value of men's eternal interest, it is an interest, with which the magistrate has no con
It is men's present interest which is the only object of his care: and, unless men's temporal interests are first attended to, their future interests will not easily be secured; just as though man cannot live by bread alone, yet he certainly cannot live without it. The body must be preserved, before any atiention can be paid to the necessities of the soul. Yet so little do the greater part of those divines, who are honoured with the appellation of gospel ministers, understand of the ends of civil society, and the proper means of attaining these ends, so igno ant are they of human nature, and so little acquainted with history, hat they one and all think it the business of the magistrate to promote true religion, and so fearful are they lest truth should suffer, that they cannot see the difference between religion being a state engine, and being nothing but a state engine. Had Queen Elizabeth and her ministers, both civil and ecclesiastical, understood these matters, as well as they are now understood, history would not have been so full of their absurd and unjust proceedings; nor would their conduct have laid the foundation of all those miseries, which so long laid waste this unhappy kingdom. But blind zeal is no more a friend to happiness, than it is to knowledge.
ON ALTERATIONS IN THE LORD's PRAYER.
TO THE EDITORS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE.
IT never fails to give me pain to hear any innovations made in out
venerable Liturgy. I am of so old fashioned a stamp as to regard with reverence what others, perhaps, may contemptuously consider as obsolete nonsense. But this I know, that one alteration will beget another, and when conceited young heads begin, without caution and authority, to correct the phrases and institutions of our ever to be revered reformers, there is no knowing where such a spirit of correcting will end.
I have been led to these remarks by often witnessing the improper, if not indecent liberties which some clergymen take with the Lord's Prayer, by substituting who for which in the opening address, “ Our Father who art in heaven;" and " on earth”," instead of “in earth," in a subsequent part of that divine composition. Now it is observable, that our translators, in every part of the New Testament, which may be considered as parallel with the above address, always use the word which; thus Matt. v. 16. “ glorify your Father zuhich is in heaven ;” vi. 1. your Father which is in heaven;" vi. 18,
your Father which is in secret,” &c. So in the Revelations, i. 1. we read, “ from him which is, and which was, and which is to come,” and the like in many other places. I should be glad to know, therefore, by what authority the change of who for which is made in the Lord's Prayer, any more than in other parts of Scripture? I cannot perceive any thing inharmonious in the rejected pronoun; and it would be no easy matter, I believe, to prove it less grammatical than the intruder, although I know some modern writers affect to make a distinction, by applying which to things, and who to persons, a distinction, however, unfounded in reason, and contrary to the genius of our language. The same observations will apply to the other innocent little word in, which many of our over-nice criticks have impertinently thrust out for, on. EARTH in this prayer stands for "
a local habitation ;” it is our present abode, and we therefore properly pray that we may "so do the will of God in it," as the blessed spirits “ do in heaven.” Supposing, which is reasonable to suppose, that the planetary orbs are inhabited, we should say the beings and things in, and not on them. Thus we are accustomed to say spots in the sun, mountains in the moon. But a late learned antiquary, Dr. Pegge, in a letter inserted in the Gentleman's Magazine, has so fully cleared this subject, that I shall quote his words. “The preposition in," he says,
“ denotes within, by, for the sake of, &c. and amongst its other significations, 'tis very commonly used for on or upon, and consequently these two particles in and on are very frequently counterchanged in common language. For example, you may either say, I met him in the road, or on the road; the down in a peach, or on a peach ; in the seventh day thou shalt do no work, or on the seventh day. See the fourth commandment, and Exodus xxxi. In some places it is said, to write upon tables; as Exodus xxxii. 16,
and yet you have it 2 Cor. iii. 3. “ written not with ink but with the spirit of the living God, not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart.” In Exodus xvi. 16, both forms occur together ; " bat on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none." And so again, Gen. ii. 2. “ He rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made, and God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because that in it he had rested from all his work." From all which one may reasonably infer, that in the present case it is equally proper to say
- in earth” as
on earth.” The Doctor afterwards quotes the versions of Wycliffe, Cranmer, and of the Bishops in the reign of Elizabeth, in defence of the received reading, adding also the authority of the Compilers of the Liturgy in this passage of the communion office, “glory be to God on high, and in earth, peace.” He closes his disquisition with the following remark: “ 112 the Anglo-Saxon, which is the nutrir of our language, on signi fies in, as appears, to go no farther, from the coins, where DORR ON EOFERPIC is Thorr in York. See Mr. Thoresby's Museum, p. 34:8, et alibi.
This now shews, a priori, how in came to be used for on; that it is no solecism ; but arises from the very genius of our language.”
Now, Gentlemen, I hope that by exposing this practice in your excellent Miscellany, it will be more narrowly examined, and for the future be renounced and avoided. Many may have taken it up without consideration, and others might be led to adopt it as an improvement. Let them well consider that they are not authorized to take such liber, ties, trivial as they may appear, with that which is coinpletely established by law; and that such alterations may gather to such a head as in time to bring the whole Liturgy into contempt. The admission of these com paratively little innovations is giving a handle to the enemies of our Establishment, and tends to furnish them with a specious plea for urging the necessity of what they call a reform in our religious Formulary, but which we are assured, by experience, means only its abolition.
IOTA. London, Nov. 9, 1803.
REMARKS ON MR. COBBOLD'S LETTER ON ELECTION.
TO THE EDITORS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHMAN'S MAGAZINE,
GENTLEMEN, WHEN the thoughts of intelligent men on subjects of importance are
delivered with freedom and candour, and with the apparent desire of arriving at the truth, I am always glad to be acquainted with them, how much soever they may differ from my own.
I should, therefore, have been pleased with the well-written letter of my friend, Mr. Cobbold, on the subject of Election, even if I had been
farther from agreeing with him than I really am. Though Mr. C. is himself no Calvinist, it is, I perceive, his opinion, that the 17th Article is rightly interpreted by Calvinists to mean, that “ a certain determinate number of individual Christians are pre-ordained to everlasting happiness.” Without entering particularly into the merits of the reasoning, by which Mr. C. has supported his opinion, I wish to make a remark or two, which the perusal of his letter has suggested.
It is very probable, that the compilers of the Article in question had not such a clear understanding of the passages of Scripture, on which the doctrine of predestination is built, as we have now attained to ; but still I can by no means allow, that they have committed themselves in the manner Mr. C. represents. On the contrary, I an. of opinion, that their consciousness of not perfectly understanding those passages made them, as in reason it ought, very cautious in their method of drawing, up the Articles, and that, in particular, it accounts for the addition of the concluding clause. I consider them as having purposely drawn up the Article in so indefinite a manner, and this supposition is confirmed by the Royal Declaration afterwards prefixed to them, as to admit of a variety of interpretations; of at least a variety great enough to comprehend those mentioned by Mr. C. as the interpretations of the Bishop of Lincoln, of the Dean of Peterborough, and of Dr. Hey. Whether God has, or has not, decreed the salvation of such and such particular persons is, in my opinion, what we neither know, nor have any means of knowing; and it appears to me, that this was also the opinion of those who compiled the 17th Article. It was necessary, upon several accounts, that an Article should be framed on the subject of predestination ; but, with respect to the decree in question, the Article does not undertake to afirm whether it has actually passed or not. It contains no positive assertion of the truth of predestination. It only states, by way of definition, that such is the meaning of predestination and election ; that, if it be true, the process of it must be such as is described in the Article; and that the consideration of it, where it is believed to be true, whether true in itself or not, is beneficiul to godly persons, and pernicious to those of a contrary character*.
With respect to subscription, my opinion is, that the clergy are considered, and ought to be considered, as subscribing to the Artiz cles, not as mere Articles of peace, but as Articles of fuith.
faith. For, as Dr. Powell very justly observes, “ it cannot reasonably be expected, that men will explain with clearness, or enforce with earnestness, or defend with accuracy of judgment, such doctrines, as they do not believe.” A question, however, will hence naturally arise as to the sense, in which any particular article is to be understood and subscribed. This
, as I have elsewhere stated more at large,t is to be determined by the existing legislature, speaking by the instrumentality of the governors of the church. As, therefore, it is possible, that different senses of an Article may be sanctioned by this authority, it is possible, that persons of different opinions, though not equally near to abstract truthi, may be equally right as to the purpose, which subscription is
See my “Sec Letter to Overton," p. 48. * See Orthodox Charchman's Magazine, Vol. IV. p. 978.